KITS 11/2021

BM324, F/Lt Bernard Dupérier (Baron Léon Sternberg de Armella), No. 340 (Free French) Squadron,

RAF Westhampnett, West Sussex, Great Britain, July 1942

Bernard Dupérier, whose real name was Leon Sternberg de Armella, enlisted in the Free French Air Force in New York on January 15, 1941

under his mother’s maiden name. Having served with No. 242 and No. 615 Squadrons RAF, in October 1941 he joined No. 340 (Free French)

Squadron (GC II/4 Ille-de-France) as a B Flight (Versailles) leader. As of May 1, 1942 he assumed command of the whole squadron. From

December 1942 he served at FAFL Headquarters. From August 30, 1943 he was given command of No. 341 (Free French) Squadron (GC III/2

Alsace) and from September 1943 he commanded the Biggin Hill Wing. On June 25, 1944 he was parachuted to Bretagne where he acted as

a commander of 3. Headquarters of FFI. On August 6, 1944, during the liberation of the city of Saint-Brieuc he was severely wounded. He

returned to the duty in April 1945. After the hostilities he worked in several positions including Air France director. In 1958 he entered the world

of politics and in 1962 became the member of Parliament. The white stripes on the nose and horizontal tail surfaces of his BM324, in which he

scored two victories, pertain to the cancelled invasion operation Rutter scheduled for July 7, 1942. This markings are mistakenly attributed to

the operation Jubilee in which No. 340 (Free French) Squadron also took part.

BM564, P/O André M. A. F. Plisnier, No. 350 (Belgium) Squadron, RAF Redhill, Surrey, Great Britain,

summer - fall 1942

Spitfire Mk.Vb BM564 flew with No. 350 (Belgium) Squadron from April 30, 1942 till December 27, 1942. During this period all sixteen Spitfires

of the unit sported the presentation inscriptions list of which allocates inscription Léopoldville to BM564. This aircraft was almost exclusively

flown by well-known Belgian pilot and ace P/O André Marie Alfred Frederick Plisnier who in its cockpit scored four kills, two during the

operation Jubilee, landing at Dieppe on August 19, 1942 and two more kills later in November. His total score during the war was six kills. The

presentation inscription Léopoldville is also included in the later list of the Belgium presentation Spitfires and allocated to AA720. This aircraft

flew missions briefly, from June 6, 1944 till June 10, 1944 when the pilot F/Lt Alec Alexander perished in it. At that time this airplane certainly

sported the invasion stripes and its windshield probably featured the integrated armored glass. Apparently it would not sport the nose art

under the canopy.

INFO Eduard - November 2021